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If you want your cafe to be the go-to space for your community to hang out, you need to think about your decor.
Cafes are all about ambiance. The details of your decor will determine the vibe of your space.
Knowing what decor is right depends on your cafe vision. The best design approach is always to stay authentic to your brand. Your cafe's business plan can help you identify your brand identity and budget for your design decisions.
There are many factors to consider as you explore decor options for your cafe. To narrow down your focus, we put together these 13 decor ideas to help you design the most popular and profitable cafe.
13 Decor Ideas for Your Cafe
Bring Your Brand to Life
No one knows your brand better than you. Establish a vision for your cafe and follow through with decor decisions that correlate with this vision.
Is your dream cafe sleek and minimal? Or, do you imagine a place that’s cozy and busy? Answers to these questions rely on your vision and what customers in your community may want. As you explore your cafe's identity, consider your floor plan and how your decor will feasibly enhance your space.
Use Basic Color Psychology
Colors trigger emotional responses in people. Brands use color communication strategically to put customers in the right mood.
Everyone's relationship with colors varies. Yet, certain color tones have a similar effect on everyone. Pick cool-toned colors for your cafe. These colors are known for their relaxing effect, enticing customers to stay a while.
This open floor plan at Coffy Cafe in Washington, D.C. uses light, bright colors to lift the mood.
Mind the Energy
Think about how people, light, and energy flow through your cafe with the help of the Chinese art of feng shui. There are a couple of feng shui basics to know.
Keep your space open so that everyone in the cafe feels like a part of the same community. As you place your decor, reflect on how this decor interacts with light and shadows throughout the day. Remember - customers will be viewing your cafe from all different angles at various times of the day. Make sure that your decor flows, regardless of time or place!
The Right Lighting
Lighting can make or break a space. The main priority for lighting is to help guests navigate your cafe with ease. Once that's achieved, you can use light fixtures to add more character to your space. Have fun when choosing fixtures, ensuring that they accent your overall design aesthetic.
Ceremony Coffee in Baltimore, MD uses pendant lighting to keep the aesthetic clean and bright.
Choosing Tables and Seating
Furniture is a powerful driver of the guest experience – choose pieces that match the look of your cafe but are also sturdy and safe.
What direction you go with furniture style is up to your cafe’s brand identity. One pro-tip is to use specific tabletops that reflect your brand and infuse it into your customer experience. This way, if someone takes a quick photo of their coffee on social media, your cafe will be instantly recognizable.
Cafes are gathering grounds for people from all walks of life – plan your next cafe with this business plan template.
Support Local Artists
Rather than keeping the same decor on the walls, consider working with local artists to display (and sell) their art in your cafe. Local art brings two benefits - it adds natural flair to your cafe and supports your community.
The Reve Coffee Lab in Lafayette, LA, loves to support local artists (some who also happen to be baristas there!)
Make it Green
Keeping real plants in or around your cafe brings light and color into the space. Pothos, vining plants, philodendrons, and snake plants are all easy to maintain, letting you add more color to your space without a hassle.
Beatnik in Chicago understands the plant assignment by infusing greenery throughout their cozy cafe spaces.
Community bookcases are becoming popular once again. So, don’t let spare space go to waste. Fill it with a bookcase or bookshelf with your favorite novels and local history books for your guests. You can also encourage guests to donate books or even host a book swap!
This stylish bookcase at Three Brother’s Coffee in Nashville displays travel guides and books on local culture.
A Perfect Pastry Case
Yummy pastries can sell themselves. Create a stylish, well-lit display for pastries, cakes, and other treats. Pastry cases entice guests to feast with their eyes while waiting to order, giving your employees a better chance of making a sale.
Imagine Beautiful Bathrooms
Bathrooms might not seem like a big deal. But, they can be the reason customers decide to return to your cafe (or not). While the main priority is to keep them clean, you also want your bathrooms to be accessible and attractive for all your guests.
An attractive bathroom may sound strange. However, customers love when bathrooms have cool details. This fun, bold bathroom print is reflected in the mirrors at The Friendly Society in Elora, Ontario.
Some guests like to be seen, but others want a quiet space to study uninterrupted. Create some cozy corners for your guests to retreat into and focus on their work or conversations. Your guests will appreciate the opportunity to keep conversations private and intimate.
The Risks and Rewards of Vintage Decor
Vintage decor can be a great way to sprinkle character into your cafe. When buying vintage decor - though - you must think strategically. Vintage wall art and other aesthetic pieces are usually reliable. On the other hand, vintage furniture can cause more problems than it is worth (potentially costing you more money in the future!)
To incorporate vintage elements into your furniture, consider restoring old furniture or distressing new pieces to capture the aesthetic without the risk.
Coffee on the Patio
Extend the vision of your cafe’s interior into any patio or outdoor space you have. You always want your brand to be cohesive so that your cafe is identifiable to customers, especially online or on social media.
Another factor in your patio decor is choosing lighting, wall-art, and tables suitable for exposure. The outdoor elements can wear down certain pieces fast. Therefore, make sure you buy furniture and other design elements built to last.
Dialog Cafe in Los Angeles maximizes the ambiance of its sidewalk seating space with lighting and decor.
Your Dream Cafe Awaits
Your cafe can become a valuable space for your community to gather over good coffee, treats, and conversation. It’s your job to make everyone feel comfortable and at home. With these 13 decor ideas, you're on the path to picking the right furniture, lighting, and colors to create a memorable experience for each guest that walks through your cafe doors.
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What is a cafe floor plan? Why do you need one? Here’s how to choose a cafe floor plan and design your layout.